Bruce Bowen had a pair of particularly appealing basketball skills — and he made a career out of them.
Playing for the San Antonio Spurs from 2001-09, and winning three NBA titles, Bowen wasn’t the star player or even offensive option 2, 3 or 4. But he could drill the corner three when called upon and defend the heck out of the perimeter at all times.
Sound familiar, Thunder fans? Well, it should.
That about describes Thabo Sefolosha’s current role to a T, except for an alter of “corner three” to “any open three”.
It’s a comparison some have made locally (and a bit nationally), finding its way to Bowen, who now works for ESPN.
During Bowen’s recent teleconference, previewing this year’s postseason, I asked him about the similarities between him and Sefolosha. Here’s what Bowen had to say:
“I don’t necessarily like (when) people ‑‑ they kind of stunt people’s growth when they make comparisons sometimes. I think (Thabo Sefolosha)’s been put into a system now where it’s a lot different than mine. It was more spot up for me, where he’s gone from a slashing player to this type of role, which is fine, because he understands the value of that. But I think he’s doing a fantastic job. I don’t ever ‑‑ I don’t like making comparisons to myself because I think somebody can be so much more than me. With that being said, I think he’s doing a tremendous job. His long arms create problems for people, and he’s accepted that role. That’s the biggest thing is that even if someone does score on him, he doesn’t give up. He doesn’t give up on a play, and that’s where you measure the true competitor of a player is: Even if he’s guarding a top scorer and that scorer has 30 points, how well is he or how vested is he in the process of defending still?”